Image Tips

Wardrobe update for working mom

Q: I want to create a new image and update my wardrobe. My baby is going into pre-school and I will soon begin working full time and stepping out into the real world. What clothes should I buy?

A: A good wardrobe requires less pieces than you might think. You only need a few, truly great items, then wear them for every occasion. Every woman should have the “indispensables”: perfectly-fitted dark pants, flattering jeans, a pencil-cut or A-line skirt, white button-down blouse, trench coat, and little black dress. Each of these timeless pieces should be of the very best quality you can afford and should be tailored to flatter your body type. As the basis of your closet, simply combine these pieces with a few trendy accessories to keep an updated look. Your “indispensable” well-tailored pieces elevate everything else in your wardrobe. Once you find the shape that flatters your figure, stick with it despite the trends and you will always look your best. The trends can be reflected with your accessories, i.e. bright colors, large bangles, handbags etc

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Complexion Perfection: choosing the right color for your skin tone

Choosing the right color for your skin tone is a challenge for most women. Finding makeup to match your skin tone can seem like an impossible task. For women of color, it can be even more daunting. Although there are more cosmetic companies offering shades for deeper complexions, they don’t often address the varying undertones in our skin. This is what can cause makeup to appear grey or “ashy” on our skin, or make certain colors just “not look right” to you in the mirror. Here are some tips to help you navigate your way through your next trip to the cosmetic counter.

Check your undertones

Wearing colors that don’t match the undertones in your complexion can make or break your makeup look. Most all skin has three basic undertones: warm, cool or neutral. An easy way to determine what your undertones are is your preference in jewelry. If your complexion looks brightest and most vibrant in gold jewelry then your undertones are warm. If you look best in silver jewelry then you have cool undertones. If your skin looks equally complimented in both silver and gold, then you are most likely neutral. If you don’t wear jewelry, look at the inside of your wrists. Bluish veins indicate cool undertones; greenish veins are warm and a combination of the two put you in the neutral category.

Warm undertones – Warm completions have yellow to gold tones at the lighter range, and golden to red-orange in the deeper range.

Cool undertones - Cool complexions have pink to reddish tones at the lighter range, and blue-red to even olive in the deeper range.

Neutral undertones - A neutral complexion is a mix of both warm and cool.

Many Asians are thought to be warm because of the yellow tone in their skin, but can also be cool. African Americans are often assumed to be cool, especially those with deeper skin tones, but can also be warm or neutral like me. Latinas and those of Middle Eastern or Indian descent can tend to be more olive, which puts them in the cool category, but can often be neutral or even warm. And a change in your hair color can sometimes move you from one category to another.

How does this help me pick the right foundation, powder and concealer?

When you’re matching foundation and powder you need to consider not only your surface tone (fair, medium, dark) but also your undertone. Always stripe a few colors on your jaw line where your complexion is the most even to see if it matches both. The color that seems to disappear when blended is the right color for your skin Your concealer should also match your undertones, but can be either a shade lighter or the same shade as your surface tone depending on how intense the shadows are under your eyes.

Tip: don’t be swayed by what the color looks like inside the bottle. Its undertone can often appear more dramatic there, especially in the deeper shades. You’ll have to actually see it on your skin to be sure.

BB and CC creams and tinted moisturizer

The newer BB and CC creams, like tinted moisturizer, not only add color to your skin but also help to even out your complexion. Matching your undertone is still essential with these, but an exact match with your surface tone is less important because the product will be somewhat absorbed into your skin rather than sitting on top. With these products you can choose a color that most closely resembles your skin’s natural intensity (fair, medium, or dark) and blends in without looking obvious.

You may have to try several different shades and brands before you find your perfect match. A few of my favorites are Makeup Forever, Lancome, MAC, Covergirl Queen Collection and Bobbi Brown. These lines have a great selection of both liquid and powder foundation in a variety of shades and undertones. If you prefer an all-in-one mineral makeup try Valana Minerals. She offers a diverse range of shades and undertones, and you can even purchase a sample pack to try out a few different shades before deciding. Try to view the foundation color on your skin in natural light, even if that means walking outside with a mirror. Choosing the right shade will ensure you always put your best face forward!

About the author: Karol Young Moses is a professional makeup artist and beauty expert based in Southern California. Her work can be seen on the red carpet and the runway as well as in print, film and television. In addition to hosting makeup workshops and seminars she helps brides look their best on their special day. Karol also appears regularly on-camera offering makeup and beauty tips to viewers. She is currently working on her first beauty book.

facebook: I C Artistry by Karol Young Moses


Instagram: icartistrybykym



Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Men’s suits

Dear Kathi,

I read your column regularly and have just noticed that you are an organizer and an image consultant. Why would I need an image consultant? If I wear a
classic dark suit, isn’t that good enough?

Josh, Encinitas


A classic dark suit is a step in the right direction. The question is, do you feel powerful and/or fantastic when you wear it? Does it make you stand out in a crowd of colleagues? People hire Image Consultants to search out and find the perfect clothes for their individual body.

Once a person wears clothing that is perfectly suited for their body, they understand its importance. Subtle changes include increased confidence, respect and often a rise in career stature. Remember the old adage, dress like your boss to get the promotion? It is still a viable reality.

There are tens of thousands of dark suits on the market. Image Consultants find the one suit in the one store that is the perfect suit for that client. Many people do not have the knowledge or the patience to seek and find the perfect suit. This is why, more often than not, you see people wearing clothes that don’t fit or accent their owner’s best features.

Hiring an image consultant can save hours shopping. One of my clients states frequently that he knows the clothes I choose will make him look exceptional, feel great and stand up through the test of time. In the long run, he saves time and money. He no longer owns a pile of clothes stuffed in the back of the closet that he will never wear. His closet now features a cohesive ensemble of clothes that mix and match for work as well as leisure.

How many times have you been disappointed by the clothes you brought home and wore a few times? This is exactly why people hire Image Consultants.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Clothing advice for plus-size hour glass body

Dear Kathi,

I am in an office most of the time, as I work on a college campus in New Hampshire. Without air-conditioning in a lot of the buildings, it can be brutally hot in the summer, as well as very cold in the winter. The “clients” I see might be vendors, co-workers, or students.

As a 50-year-old hourglass-shaped plus size, I stick pretty close to slacks or an occasional skirt, shirts or knit tops, sweaters, jackets (I wear a lot of light-weight sweater sets), simple jewelry, and comfortable shoes, like sandals, or loafers.

At church I play organ. I wear slacks or a skirt with a jacket, or a dress, often with scarves and jewelry. Shoes are a little dressier-usually pumps that I can kick off. I would like to upgrade my wardrobe and am looking for specific advice about what I can wear.

Linda, Dartmouth


As an hourglass plus size, be careful what you wear on your feet. Avoid clunky shoes. “Clunky” means fat heels with a lot of coverage on the top of your foot. Try to choose shoes that have a low profile and are very streamlined. Choose pumps that are cut low in the front of your foot and if possible cut low on the side to show off your arch. A kitten heel is the best choice because, again, it is petite in size, not bulky or chunky.

For sandals, wear thin straps, nothing bulky. Loafers are a good stand-by if they are not heavy. Again, go for the low profile, streamlined, and feminine. No chunky, clunky heels.

It sounds like the layering effect is good for you. The matching sweater set combo has the hazard of looking schoolmarmish, however. You might be better served with the modern day equivalent of layering two unique sweaters on top of each other: a sleeveless shell under a 3/4 sleeve lightweight sweater. You can even wear a blazer over both of these as the weather turns cooler.

Remember to keep your blouses fitted, but not tight, to emphasize your figure. A fitted blouse gives the impression of a smaller waistline. Wear a suit coat or blazer over the fitted shirt to hide any bulges that might be obvious when you sit down.

If you are going to wear a skirt, a good overall length for most shapes is a hemline that falls at the skinny part of the knee. Avoid skirts that are exceptionally long. Long, flowy skirts should only be worn if the top half of the silhouette has some sort of fitted shape. The paper sack effect results from wearing loose over loose, and long. If the skirt has to be long, I would prefer to see a flowy top over a long fitted skirt. Better yet, a knee length skirt is the safest alternative for every top.

Make sure to balance your top half with your bottom half. In other words, if you have a large bustline, make sure to avoid narrow, straight, or peg leg slacks, choosing a boot cut or flare leg instead. If you have a large derrière, make sure your jackets and blouses fall just below the largest part of your bottom.

Vertical lines add slimness to your silhouette. They can be found in seaming and cut, as well as in fabric pattern.Emphasize your best asset. If it is your eyes, wear clothing colors that highlight your eye color. If it is your small waist, make sure to wear blouses that are trim at the waist. If it is your face, play with earrings and scarves tied at the neckline to bring the attention to that area.
Thanks for writing and don’t hesitate to write with any other specific questions.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Flattering Clothes to Hide C-Section Belly

How do you dress for a sagging stomach from a C-Section? Maternity pants with the stretch tummy helps tremendously, but finding flattering tops is my current issue. Usually, the tops are not long enough to cover my hanging stomach. I use tank tops underneath. If I buy a larger size in shirts, the shirts are wider, not longer. I have to wear loose so it doesn’t show my bulging tummy. Just wondering if you have tips/experience helping other C-Section mommies with this issue? 

Thank you sooo much!


Hi Kiera, 

Great to hear from you and thanks for this question. I have had clients with this challenge and I am sure that many readers are in the same boat.

Look for long tunic tops with empire waistlines. This way, you will be emphasizing the smallest part of your body, just below the bustline. The perfect empire will fall gently away from the empire as it widens over your belly and hips. Avoid pleats and look for soft flowey fabric that will gently cover what you wish to cover. Jersey knit is a nice choice. The idea is to skim, never cling. 

As an aside, 3/4 length sleeves and v-necklines are every woman’s secret weapon! If you can find this combo in an empire tunic style top, you are golden! 



Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dressing casual without jeans

Dear Kathi,

I’m 42 years old, petite (5′ 1″), short-waisted, pear-shaped, and about 20 pounds overweight. To add to this fashion challenge, due to religious reasons, I do not wear slacks. So… I struggle with how to look more “in-style” in skirts and culottes, which are not necessarily the latest fad, and with the proper shoes to go with them (at 42, ankle socks and sneakers may not be the best bet!!).

By occupation, I am an executive/legal secretary. I struggle mostly with what to do about casual wear, given these parameters. My casual attire right now is pretty much either a jeans skirt or culottes.

Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated! I know you’re not asked this question much (if at all), but there are a lot of women out here who are wondering about this same issue.

Thanks again for your response. I wish you were in Kansas City instead of San Diego-I’m going through a mid-life crisis and could really use some help!

Brenda D., Kansas City


As a petite, you should focus on wearing the same color on top as on the bottom. Throw in accessory colors sparingly, using the 75/25 rule, 25% being the accessory color. If you have a jacket and skirt the same color, then your blouse can be the accessory color. This will give you a longer line and add inches to your height.

Regarding your restriction against slacks, I would recommend wearing slim line culottes in lightweight fabrics that are flowy and hang softly, avoiding stiff or heavy fabrics. I don’t know about Kansas City, but this is the year of the resurgence of the culotte. There are many options on the market right now for culottes in soft fabrics.

Beware of skirts that are as wide as they are long. This is a common mistake petites make by wearing A-line and short skirts.

For your skirts, avoid any hemline at or below your ankle. A timeless hemline will end at your knee. Have a friend help pin the hem to the spot that hits at the skinniest part of your knee.

If you want to wear longer lengths, stop the hemline at the skinny part of your calf, not at the widest part; in other words, just above or below the widest place, not right on it. The longer your skirt, the daintier the shoe should be. Wear small kitten heels. Experiment with low cut vamps and sling backs. This will help you look more current while honoring your restrictions.

Hopefully you can wear a shoe with a bit of a heel. If so, wear at least a 2-inch heel, not chunky, to offset the width of the culotte leg. Sandals are the perfect accessory to skirts and culottes, although I realize you are headed into wintertime. This is probably a great time to add a few sexy sandals for next spring.

For fall and winter, a pointy-toed shoe or boot will add height to your image. Don’t rule out pointy-toed shoes before you try them. Many are ultra-comfortable. The search for a pair of sophisticated pointy-toed shoes you can wear for hours will be worth the effort in the impression you will create.

Add knee-high boots to your wardrobe. Buy brown and black and match these to your outfits. If you can match the boot color to your slacks and skirt, so much the better.

No matter what you wear, always avoid chunky shoes, as these will add weight and shrink your height to 4′ 5″ in an instant. When you wear tennis shoes, keep them small and dainty. Consider adding a few pairs of the new style tennis shoes, with interesting small clasps and straps, in dark designer colors for your casual outfits.

Wear only darker colors for your bottom half. This trick will minimize a pear shape.
Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Business casual dress code


I’m starting a new job in August. The dress code is business casual. Are tennis shoes considered appropriate?

Rob, Encinitas


Unless you are a professional skateboarder, basketball player, or work in a medical setting, tennis shoes are not appropriate work attire. Purchase a comfortable leather black-soled shoe in a solid color. Shoes and glasses define a man’s wardrobe. Have you ever heard the phrase, “you can tell a man by his shoes”? Shoes and glasses are the investment items to buy high-end because it is very obvious if they are inexpensive. These are also the areas that you can most easily define your style and make your image count. A well-dressed man wears tennis shoes only when travelling to and from the gym. When dressing, try to match socks with trouser color or a shade darker and never wear white socks with dress shoes.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Choosing a power tie

Dear Kathi,

My business partners make fun of my crazy ties with wild patterns like
chile peppers and pictures of Mickey Mouse. I could really use some help
finding that ultimate power tie.

Bob V. Carlsbad


There is a reason that these types of ties are called novelty ties. They are not to be taken seriously and in my opinion should not be given or worn. I’m glad to hear that you are ready to reform. Power ties are easy to buy. Start your search looking for solid colors. Red is the penultimate power tie color. Gold is the second runner up. Focus your attention on finding ties with discreet patterns and a subtle sheen. Please refrain from wearing shiny ties with large patterns or images. Power is subtle and understated. The strength of a power tie is reflected in it’s refined patterning. Pinstripes are a bit more difficult. Focus on solid colors (preferably red, gold, yellow or silver) and you will be on the right track.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dressing A Full Figure Without Small Waistline

Dear Kathi,

I am full figured with no waistline. What clothes should I buy?

Jessie, Waitress


Avoid wear baggy shirts that fall straight from your bustline to your hips. This practice makes your entire body look as wide as your chest. Buying shirts with a snug fit and princess seam under the chest is a good practice. Shirts that fit snug at your waist with tailored lines will accentuate your waist and draw attention to your lower areas. Keep suit coats long and make sure they hit below your hips, ending at the widest part of your bottom, not above it. This will give the appearance of a longer torso and minimize your hips. Suit coats with three – four buttons will minimize the bustline. Another important item to consider is your slacks. Wear slacks with wide legs that fall away from your hips. This will help you avoid the upside-down “V” look and you will elongate your torso at the same time.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Image, Image Tips, Organizing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Corporate image

Hi Kathi,

I am 26 and have been in a corporate job for over two years. I feel ready to apply for a managerial position with my company. I know that I need to dress more “corporate” and would like to hear your suggestions regarding what clothing I should buy.

Lindsay, Oceanside


A mix-and-match wardrobe of separates, suits and two-piece dresses will provide the most mileage as you work your way up the corporate ladder.
To assemble a professional wardrobe, look for power colors – dark and rich. Avoid pastels, subdued and lighter colors.
Make sure to invest in quality fabrics and clothing with clean simple lines. These standards make shopping more time consuming but will always pay off in terms of fashion and durability.

Wear natural fabrics combined with non-trendy accessories. Your accessories should include classic leather handbags, briefcases and shoes.

Overall, go for an uncluttered look. This means simplicity and sophistication in design and lines, fabric and print. Keep your hair and makeup simple and understated. Let your hardwork and dedication become the focus at your workplace and you will attract your promotion.
Remember in the corporate world your wardrobe is more than a fashion statement. If you dress like a manager the people who do the promoting will have an easier time viewing you as a manager. If you still dress like Gidget you will more than likely be rewarded with a challenging career in the mailroom.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Image, Image Tips | Tagged | Leave a comment